EYES IN THE SKY: Televising LIVE!
...on the Wings of Eagles...
Electronic image capturing, reporting
and transmission aloft!
©-SMECC and respective rights holders that
have material displayed here.
He was the on-board announcer for the first airborne telecast, from a
U.S. plane flying low over New
York City on March 6, 1940,
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Read
more on the SMECC Site HERE
Raymond Forrest (January 7, 1916 – March 11, 1999) was a
radio staff announcer for NBC,
pioneering TV announcer, host and news broadcaster from the very
earliest TV era (pre-WW
II) through the 1960s.
| March 6, 1940,
Guided Drone Bomb! THE
BLOCK SYSTEM. Not really for news reporting but significant in
rugged TV transmitter construction techniques.
(info to be added)
|WORLD WAR II
The 1945 Proposal by Arthur C. Clarke for
Geostationary Satellite Communications
Not considered seriously at the time it became a
reality within 20 years thanks to Harold Rosen at Hughes Aircraft
RELAY SYSTEMS - Feb 1945
Clarke first mentions relay systems and this is before his famous
Clarke privately circulated in 1945 May a proposal titled The
Space-Station: Its Radio Applications in six typed manuscripts. The
top copy of that is now in the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian
Institution, Washington D.C. It was reprinted in Spaceflight, Vol
10. no 3, March 1968 pp 85-86 and in Ascent to Orbit pp 57-58.
RELAYS (PDF) Can
Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage? By
ARTHUR C. CLARKE Wireless
World pp. 305-308
|Feb - July 1945
International Projectionist & Projection Engineering Magazine,
December 1945 (A unique airborne network relay service)
This was a conception "helicopters will be
able to report live news" ad. The plane nose is a real photo
but the helicopter and man watching it on TV are artist renderings.
Note the plane has a WWII BLOCK system camera in the nose as used by gilded
glider bombs from WWII.
In these added official RCA press release
and photographs, you can see
the camera gear is being mounted in the plane in the advertisement.
You'll see news in the making-
RCA airborne television will bring you
thrilling news events that
could not otherwise be "covered'' - while they are
Imagine! A helicopter is "covering" the story of a man
marooned on a burning building. Sitting at your home television receiver,
you will get the same eye-witness view as though you were riding along in
the nose of the plane!
To develop equipment compact enough to lit into a plane was a major
problem. But RCA- NBC scientists and engineers in cooperation with the U.
S. Navy did it-and airborne television became a wartime reality.
This portable equipment has many peacetime uses-and may lead to
development of a "walkie-lookie" with which a radio or news
reporter might cover a story by television as readily as a news
photographer docs now with a camera.
Such progress-making research goes into each and every RCA product-and
is your assurance that anything hearing the RCA or RCA Victor emblem is
one of the finest instruments of its kind that science has achieved.
A television "eye" in the nose of a plane!
Besides covering news events, by plane, automobile or boat, such equipment,
developed by RCA and NBC, can make extremely accurate geographical surveys
from planes flown by remote control. Moreover, similar television
equipment can he used to observe hazardous manufacturing processes from a
Radio Corporation of America, Radio City, New York 20 .
. . Listen to The RCA Victor Show, Sundays, 4:30 P.M., Eastern Time, over
the NBC Network.
RADIO CORPORATION of AMERICA
And additional RCA press release
Newsreel | Operation Pegasus
News report on the first live television filming from the
info on Pegasus HERE
Television Goes Flying
The BBC makes its second attempt to broadcast live from
info on Pegasus HERE
Photo - National Helicopter Service
In the early or mid 1950's, CBS Engineers place a RCA-TK-30 Camera in a
Bell Model ??? Helicopter. The cable is probably 100 feet long and would
run down to the camera chain equipment in a remote truck. As long as
the truck could reach a point and cable up to the helicopter the
camera cable length afforded a high perspective for the television viewers.
|Early or mid 1950's?
TELECOPTER - First viable Live Helicopter news reporting platform.
Los Angles Helicopter helicopter changed
television news forever.
On July 3, 1958 1958 the
first TV news helicopter, KTLA’s Telecopter, debuted in L.A.
Courtesy John Silva
|On July 3, 1958
IN INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION
by Elliott P.
Author, Geneva, Switzerland-A report on the addition of a new
telecasting in Europe. (BROADCAST
ENGINEERING January 1965)
being used increasingly in several European countries for
"live" telecasts of outdoor events. Basically,
helicopters provide two important advantages:
They make possible
airborne, overhead camera shots, and they provide a support for
equipment used to' relay signals from remote cameras on the
Success in using
helicopter techniques has been reported by Radio Television
Francaise (RTV) in broadcasting the "Tour de France"
bicycle race. For these telecasts a helicopter is used both for
direct aerial shot and as a relay for signals transmitted from
video cameras mounted on motorcycles.
image-orthicon camera is used for the airborne pickups. This
camera is provided with a synthetic-resin cover for protection
from the weather. Closeup pictures are obtained from cameras
mounted on motorcycles that follow the racers; equipment aboard
the helicopter is used to' relay signals transmitted from the
motorcycles. The signals are picked up with two FM receivers tuned
to' 492 and 532 me and are retransmitted from the helicopter by
two FM transmitters, one operating on 650 me with an output of 5
watts and the other on 780 me with an output of 50 watts. The
video signals from the helicopter camera are also transmitted
through these units. A conventional radiotelephone system is used
for relaying instructions from the helicopter to the motorcycles
and a truck-mounted receiving station.
polarized, printed-circuit receiving antennas are used on the
helicopter and the motorcycles. The helicopter antennas are
extended and retracted by electric motors.
A similar system
has been used by the Radio Televisione Italiana (RAI); a
helicopter makes possible coordinated pickups from two cameras
mounted an automobiles (Fig. l ) and a third all a motorcycle
(Fig. 2). Although RAI anticipates putting a cameraman in
the helicopter, the aircraft is now used only as a relay station.
On each of the
station wagons is mounted a transistorized camera using a 3/1 image
orthicon. A generator driven by the engine of the vehicle is used
to charge batteries which in turn power the cameras.
The helicopter and
auto transmitters have outputs of 6 watts each. The motorcycle
transmitter power is 3 watts. Three receivers with different types
of antennas operating in diversity are employed at the receiving
truck (Fig. 3). A diagram of the system is shown in Fig. 4.
A system similar to
those already described has been used by the Belgian Radio and
Television System. During the race, the helicopter flies over the
course at an altitude of 900' to WOO'. The video is sent from the
motorcycles to the helicopter by .7-watt FM transmitters operating
in the 500 me band. Aboard the helicopter is a 50-watt FM
transmitter which retransmits the video signals in the 500 me
band. Using an omnidirectional antenna (under the aircraft in the
cover illustration), the helicopter relay permits constant contact
with a fixed ground receiving station within a radius of about 15
miles. The ground station uses a directional antenna with a gain
of about 12 db.
Microphonics due to
mechanical vibrations of the helicopter proved to be a serious
problem in initial tests of the equipment. This was eliminated by
shock-mounting the electronic equipment in the helicopter.
another serious problem. It was produced by signals from other
stations operating entirely outside the desired frequency band and
by the radiotelephone system aboard the helicopter. The difficulty
has been eliminated by inserting band-pass filters in the antenna
To give the
helicopter pilot maximum
freedom in maneuvering his craft while following the races,
helicoidal antennas have been installed on the motorcycles and the
helicopter. The use of circularly polarized antennas on the
motorcycles reduces the effects of interference due to reflected
waves at some relative positions of the helicopter and the
motorcycles. Belgian TV engineers are convinced that ground based
stations for such telecasts should be located in rural areas to
minimize the effects of industrial static.
One serious problem remains to
be solved. The sync generator in the portable camera does not
produce pulses that are satisfactory for good video transmission.
It has been the practice to replace this information at the ground
relay or the studio by pulses generated locally. The ground-based
sync-pulse generator is synchronized with the signal from the
helicopter by means of a "slaving" unit. This
synchronization has not worked satisfactorily because of the
numerous breaks in transmission from the motorcycles to the
helicopter. A proposed
solution is to use a return transmission channel to
"enslave" the sweep of the portable camera to the sync
generator at the studio.
The Israel Broadcasting Service
has made satisfactory use of a "military-type"
transceiver for live telecasts from a helicopter. While being
unable for security reasons to disclose details of the cameras
used, Israeli radio engineers report that a BBC-type lip
microphone has been used effectively to exclude undesired noise.
Live telecasts have not yet been
reported in Scandinavia, but in both Sweden and Norway helicopters
have been successfully
used for filming outside events for TV broadcast. The Swedish
Broadcasting Corp. has obtained effective stabilization of the
camera by means of a gyroscopic device. Engineers for the
Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. have not yet been able to record a
running commentary on the film of aerial shots because of noise
within the helicopter.
Other Helicopter Uses
A number of European
broadcasting organizations report successful use of helicopters
for making antenna - pattern measurements. These organizations
include the "Deutsch Welle" of Cologne and the
Bayerischer Rundfunk of Munich in Germany, the Oesterreicher
Rundfunk in Austria, and the Independent Television Authority in
The latter organization
has used helicopters for testing new television transmitting
antennas. In verifying the effective radiated power directed
toward France from Dover, the Authority's engineers were able to
very accurately the radiation pattern of the antenna mounted on
the transmitting mast. Also, power-loss measurements over a very
long radio transmission path were carried out with the
transmitting equipment supported in
space by a
Thus it can be seen that,
although the methods of usage vary from country to country, the
helicopter is assuming an increasingly important role in European
television broadcasting. .•.
Auto-top camera used in Italy.
Fig. 2. Motorcycle camera
uses vidicon. Fig.
3. Multiple-antenna ground station.
Fig. 4. Diagram illustrates
the use of helicopter-borne
equipment for TV relay.
JENNY - Welcome to the Blue Eagle Nest
In October 1965, a US Navy aircraft equipped as an
airborne broadcast station performed an airborne radio relay broadcast
of the World Series over South Vietnam becoming the worlds first
operational airborne broadcast station. In February of 1966, television
arrived on the scene in South Vietnam and another new page went into the
broadcasting history book. TV shows were broadcast on Channel 11 for
AFVN (the American Forces Vietnam Network), and on Channel 9 for THVN TV
(the official station of the Republic of Vietnam). TV was broadcast from
U.S. Navy NC-121J (Super Constellation) aircraft. These aircraft were
known as Blue Eagles and operated as Project Jenny.
Read more HERE
BM/E JULY. 1982
Not all broadcast vehicles are earthbound,
and the helicopter manufacturers
at NAB bore testimony to the
increasing importance of air power.
The biggest bird at the show was Bell
Helicopter's LongRanger II, seen also...
at last year's NAB. This copter is so
large that its tail had to be removed to
allow it to fit into the booth. A Bell
spokesperson described the Long -
Ranger lI as the smoothest -flying helicopter
Bell makes -a boon when trying
to shoot a news story from aloft. It is capable
of cruising at 130 mph. A large
"ambulance door" allows a stretcher
to fit inside (with seats removed, of
course) if the station wants to provide
some public service during an emergency.
(As a company spokesperson
noted, proper insurance coverage is a
must.) Base price of this top -of- the -line
chopper is $495,000, not including
Sharing the Bell booth was ENG
Helicopter Satellites Ltd. with its
Magic Moment camera mount, seen at
previous NAB shows but now in a new
version that supports up to 50 lbs. The
mount is especially designed to bolt
into helicopters, with aircraft -grade
On the small end, Hughes Helicopters
was promoting its 300C ENG helicopter,
a two- seater piston model that
sells in the $200,000 range ($132,000
without electronics). This inexpensive
(as helicopters go) chopper is designed
to make airborne ENG available to a
much larger number of television stations,
Also stressing cost -effectiveness
was Enstrom Helicopter, which
showed a three -seater piston copter
with a microwave package from Airborne
Microwave Inc. The bird sells for
$1 50,000 and the microwave gear adds
another $73,000. A spokesperson said
that WGN, Chicago, was negotiating a
Microwave package for Enstrom bird has Tayburn and BMS components.
lease for the helicopter on display.
Enstrom will arrange a variety of lease
options for its helicopters, as well as
lease /purchase arrangements and outright
An attention -getter in the parking lot
was the orange Pumpkin Air helicopter,
a Bell JetRanger III. The Dallas -
area company leases helicopters to
stations not yet ready to make the financial
commitment of buying a bird.
Pumpkin Air will also provide pilots if
desired, all with ENG backgrounds,
and will equip the helicopter according
to the customer's request
|(From - May 1982 BM/E)
Seventeenth Annual Iris Awards
Markets 11-40: KPNX -TV, Phoenix,
for "Northland: Sky -12 Country," program
executive Robert Allingham
and producer John Bass.
Markets 1 -10: WBZ -TV, Boston, for
"Big Boys Can Cry: The Changing
American Man," program executive
Richard Kurlander and producer
Markets 11-40: KPNX -TV, Phoenix,
for "Northland: Sky -12 Country," program
executive Robert Allingham
and producer John Bass.
Markets 41 -211: KVOS -TV, Bellingham,
for "The 1981 Ski -to -Sea Festival
Race Highlights," program
executive Robert Louis and producer
|Helicopter showdown in Phoenix
The Duel Between KOOL and KTAR -
First Strike - KOOL achieves air to ground live news
video and audio transmission via hand held microwave transmitter from their
XXXXXX Helicopter piloted by ????
and engineer onboard manning the transmitter was
First Practical Live Coverage - KTAR Using the TAYBURN
First in Arizona to
report/fly from an effective hi-speed, maneuverable news platform
Jerry Foster set records and got news to us. This used a
newly developed Tayburn microwave platform that is reputed to be a
spin-off of military technology. At the station end there was an autotracking
antenna system that would follow Jerry around the valley (and
beyond) as he sped about, this system was the secret of what made the
Tayburn system so good.
In Arizona, KOOL Channel 10 claims
a first too. There had been an experimental point to point test
incorporating relay transmissions that grant them a claim to a
'first live from a helicopter', but these were limited as they
relied on a person holding a microwave transmitter out the
window of the helicopter pointed down to a fixed microwave
receiver at the ground... then cabled over to the remote truck that
would retransmit the signal to the station then to the transmitter
site to go out over the airwaves to your house.
We also can add that Bill
Close and Channel 10 news and engineering crew gloated over pulling
this first off... just in a very short time before the
SKY-12 Tayburn system was deployed.
Did it 10's method work? Yes, a signal
was sent... SO... was KOOL First? Yes, first signal - but alas
not as practical airborne news platform. Was it usable? Sorta! If
everything was connected, aimed properly and you had time to
set it all up... an airborne news report could be set to the station
Jerry Foster is finishing up his
book "EARTH BOUND MISFIT" That will be released at he end
Many questions will be answered and
facts explored by Jerry's book. We at SMECC will be putting together
not only more info on the Tayburn system from the engineering
times? Indeed! Whether you loved or hated him, Pilot/Reporter Jerry
Foster helped transform the helicopter industry into what it is today.
Enjoy this video segment as Foster breaks his silence in a no
holds barred interview on "Flying with Chopper Rose" and takes
us on another wild ride down memory lane. Ed
Sharpe - Archivist for SMECC
Jerry Foster - SKY 12
Pilot/Reporter Jerry Foster
takes us for a wild ride on
"Flying with Chopper Rose".
you get this in email use this link to go to the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gp1gSaMiyYw
Previews of book chapters, interesting stories and some fun
photos also check out http://www.sky12.tv/
Archivist for SMECC and Jerry Foster retired KPNX SKY-12 pilot
and reporter examine the Tayburn TNR-202A Airborne news relay
system omni-directional antenna mount.
A flash from the past! - Ed Sharpe
Archivist for SMECC and Jerry Foster retired KPNX SKY-12 pilot and
reporter examine the Tayburn TNR-202A Airborne news relay system
omni-directional antenna mount from the original sky 12 helicopter
over 30 years ago... The dark metal portion mounted to the landing
skid on the bottom of the helicopter and the light colored portion would
deploy the omni antenna downwards when the craft was in flight... and
hopefully also raise it before landing! In addition, the skid
mount held the 2 Gigahertz power amplifier rated at 13 watts. -
A twin to this assembly was mounted on the other skid with a deployable
omni-directional antenna for receiving. Looking at the news
ad of the Sky 12 helicopter below you can see 2 omni-directional
antennas and the close up inset photo shows the unit that Ed and Jerry
In the inset Photo you will notice two
can-like items on the skid mount. These are forward and
rear facing 2 Gigahertz directional horn antennas. These were used to
achieve higher gain back to the Tayburn Auto tracking receive site
Jerry Foster during the Chan- 3 Days!
KING OF THE WILD BLUE SKIES!
(watch the clip - sing the song!)
|U2 Spy Plane Pilot Francis Gary Powers became an airborne traffic reporter for radio station KGIL Los
Angeles. He was then hired by television station KNBC to pilot their new "telecopter,"
a helicopter equipped with externally mounted 360 degree cameras.
Francis Gary Powers died in 1977 in an accident. He was 48 years old. He had
been covering brush fires in Santa Barbara County. As he returned, his
helicopter ran out of fuel and crashed in the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area
several miles short of Burbank Airport.
collision of electronic news gathering helicopters KTVK-TV, Eurocopter
AS350B2, N613TV, and U.S. Helicopters, Inc., Eurocopter AS350B2, N215TV,
Phoenix, Arizona, July 27, 2007
|July 27, 2007